What is language?
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What Does language Mean
It is always interesting, before determining the meaning of a specific word, to carry out a little research to find the etymological origin of it. Specifically, if we do the same with the term in question, we will find that said origin resides in the Provençal language and more specifically in the concept of lenguatge . However, this in turn comes from the Latin term lingua .
Once this has been exposed, we have to determine that with the word language what we do is refer to all that set of signs and sounds that human beings have used, from their creation to the present day, to be able to communicate with other individuals of the same species to those who thus express both what they feel and what they think about a certain issue.
The concept of language can be understood as a resource that makes communication possible . In the case of human beings, this tool is extremely developed and is much more advanced than in other animal species, since it is a process with physiological and psychic roots . Language, as many of you will know, gives man the ability to select, quote, coordinate and combine concepts of varying complexity.
However, to all this must be added the fact that there are many forms of language. As for the classification that could be made based on the way a man or a woman expresses themselves, we can say that there is both cultured and rude, colloquial or even technical language.
A technical separation allows us to recognize three dimensions within the language: form (includes phonology , morphology and syntax ), content ( semantics ) and use ( pragmatics ).
For the linguistic expert, Ferdinand de Saussure , language is composed of language (it is language , a general and constant model for those who make up a certain linguistic community) and speech (the momentary materialization of that resource; an individual and voluntary that is carried out through phonation and writing).
Before developing their capacities in an extended way, the human being develops a pre-language , a rudimentary communication system that becomes evident during the first years of life and that implies capacities of both a neurophysiological and psychological nature, such as perception , motor skills , the imitation and memory .
The concept of natural language , on the other hand, describes a linguistic modality or type of language that man develops with the purpose of communicating with his environment. This tool, as can be seen when analyzing its particularities, has syntax and is based on the precepts of optimization and economy .
Charles F. Hockett has also listed multiple features that appear in natural languages as hallmarks. Among them he mentions productivity (detail that offers the possibility of generating new messages), arbitrariness (in reference to the link that can be established between sign and meaning) and hierarchical structure (particularity that sets syntactic and grammatical criteria for languages human, since the productions are not random).
And that without forgetting that there are also other important types of language, such as sign language, for example. This, also called sign language, is what people who have some type of hearing or vocal disability use to communicate. The use of hands, body expression and gestures are the basis of it.